Never forget…
The Rememberer
CHAPTER
1
Prologue
Ray Celstis stood at the foot of the Council. His heart beat quickly at an uneven pace. The cuts on his arms and legs stung.
“Ray Celstis,” said a raspy voice coming from the throne in the top center of the Council room. “So you have come at last.”
“Yes, Sire,” said Ray, trying to keep his voice from shaking.
“Have you brought it?”
“No, Sire.”
“WHAT?” The aura of anger radiated off of the thing so strongly, the hairs on Ray’s head burned up.
“It got away, Sire. The Keyholder was not keen on letting it go.”
“That was the point!” spat the figure on the throne, and it began to extract itself from the shadows that hid it. Ray shivered in fear. The thing on the throne was a louse, the kind of bug that depends on other living creatures. Except he was huge, large and swollen and plump. His blue-black armor glinted in the dim light. One of theCouncil members, a spotted brown terrier, whimpered in fear.
Immediately the louse spun around in fury. Its glowing yellow eyes rested upon the terrier.
“We have no room for fear in this court,” he hissed. And he held up one of his million hands and shot at the dog, with an arc of pure black energy. When the dust cleared, the terrier was gone. All that was left was a pile of ashes.
“Anyone else dare whimper?” The louse growled.
Nobody said a word.
“Now. Ray Celstis. I specifically asked for the lyre. And I did not get what I asked for.”
You don’t always get what you want, thought Ray darkly.
“Therefore, by rule of the Council, you are to be punished for failing. I think that ten years in prison should suffice.”
“Sire, no!” Ray cried. “My wife…my children…”
“SILENCE!” screamed the louse.
“Your wife and children–bah! You are obeying the law. You are listening, for once.”
“Sire.”
The louse turned to see a young coral snake, staring at him intently with her beady black eyes.
“What is it? You dare interrupt?”
“I want to be to-the-point, please, and to do so I must have the Council’s full attention,” countered the snake coldly.
“I—you–” spluttered the louse, but he could not lash out upon the snake; she hadn’t violated the Council’s rules yet. “Very well. What is it that you have to say?”
“Mr. Celstis may have failed in his quest, and therefore…displeased you,” the coral snake said, “but you are an animal of second chances, are you not?”
“Hear, hear!” boomed an African elephant.
“I am leader of this court, and you WILL listen to me!” spat the louse. He turned his ugly face towards Ray.
“You’ll get exactly what you deserve,” he snarled.
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